Judy Sirota Rose
The International Festival of Arts & Ideas (IFAI) in New Haven, Conn., to be held this year from June 15 to 29, doesn't have your traditional festival fare of corn dogs and cotton candy. From the international food trucks to the performance of drama, IFAI offers much to many, attracting more than 100,000 guests in 2012 and elevating the very notion of what a festival should be.
"We are more of a classical European festival," said IFAI executive director Mary Lou Aleskie in a personal interview at The Daily Meal offices, "where performers are brought together with engaging ideas, celebrating what it means to be human, and that just can’t be complete without fabulous food and drink."
One minute you are at a Scotch tasting while the next you are seeing the Bristol Old Vic/Handspring Puppet Company perform "A Midsummer Night’s Dream." You can see dance, hear opera and jazz, listen to lectures on neuroscience or take a walking tour of the Elm City, all the while sampling worldwide cuisines.
Said Aleskie, "New Haven becomes the perfect world stage, accessible by train, a walking city with dynamic international cuisine informed by Yale — from cupcakes to seafood to soul food."
Arguably the most intelligent and savory festival in the Northeast, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas combines the best of an elite university town with a coterie of artists performing and feasting for some memorably creative days.